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  • Tulane Grad Students Practice Real World Investing With Mutual Fund

    The Burkenroad fund is unique among business schools. “At the Freeman school, we do our due diligence and take a more long-term look at investing.

    Upstart: Career

    With all of the ups and downs of the stock markets over the past decade, the average investor might wonder who’s watching over his mutual funds.

    In the case of the Burkenroad Fund, it’s a group of students at Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business who spend hours combing through the financial reports of companies that a lot of retail investors haven’t heard of and analysts don’t follow – and eventually find many of the stocks the fund buys.

    The results over a decade of student involvement aren’t anything to sneeze at. According to Burkenroad’s prospectus, the no-load version of the fund, which started Dec. 31, 2001, had returned 11.9 percent since inception through March 31, 2011. The fund, managed by Biloxi, Miss.-based banker Hancock Holding Co., has current assets of about $70 million. The fund licenses its name from the university, but is managed independently from the school.

    The Russell 2000 index, a benchmark barometer of small- and mid-cap companies, returned an overall 7.5 percent over the same time.

    In the recessionary year of 2008, when many 401(k) plans lost much of their value, the Burkenroad fund suffered a loss of just under 25 percent compared to 33.8 percent for the Russell 2000 index. But both rebounded the following year. And for the three years ending March 31, the Burkenroad fund returned 10.72 percent compared to 8.6 percent for the Russell 2000 index.

    Peter Ricchiuti, who teaches the stock analysis course, said he picks most of the companies, and students come up with others. He said the Burkenroad fund’s reliance on student reports is unique, although other business schools put their students to the task of researching investments for university endowments.

    About 200 students over the current school year have been evaluating 40 companies across the South. Considering the region, it’s not surprising that 15 of the companies have some sort of involvement in the petroleum industry. The others include regional banks, as well as insurance, consumer goods, chicken- and egg- processing and retail companies.

    All of their final analyses – known as Burkenroad Reports – are available to the public.

    “At the Freeman school, we do our due diligence and take a more long-term look at investing,” said Anthony Elia, a 25-year-old graduate student in finance from Pasadena, Calif.

    Read More:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/22/tulane-grad-students-practice-investing_n_852658.html

    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

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